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16 October 2014

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The Conductor

By Geraint Rhys Davies
30 November 2007, South East Wales
A digital story from Rhondda Lives!

"I work as a pharmacist in Treherbet and I still get people coming into my shop remembering what my father did, whether as a school teacher or as the conductor of the Treorchy Male Voice Choir.

Nowadays, male voice choirs are quite old, they're over sixty average age, but they were in twenties and thirties in those days. He used to be quite a strict disciplinarian and expected them to do their best and if they didn't do so he'd tell them. But whenever they were coming to the end of the practice he'd be praising them and expect them to come back next time in a good mood.

So that was the psychology. He always wanted people to have a try and he used to, he used a German phrase, Einmal ist Keinmal, which I understand translated means, the first time doesn't count. And another phrase he used to use quite often, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing imperfectly. And I've used that as a sort of guideline for my own life in that I have go at things.

My father used to do all the music, he used to use his typewriter and write it all out in sol fa.

A month ago my son got married and one of the high spots of the service was a party of boys singing my father's arrangement of Nant y Mynydd, and it was a really emotional occasion to hear those being sung again."

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